Review: Television Show "Naked and Afraid"
The Discovery Channel has a new reality survival show, "Naked and Afraid" which the network described as the "Mount Everest of all reality survival shows". "Naked and Afraid" is composed of two people (one man and one woman) who have some knowledge and experience on survival skills. Some contestants are paramedics, former military, firefighter, adventurers, police officer, obstacle creators, stunt woman, outdoor authors, survival experts, and so on.
The man and woman become paired up with a perfect stranger, and they are forced to give up their clothes for 21-days. The contestants are placed in a harsh place somewhere in the globe (Costa Rica, Louisiana, the Amazon, etc.) and the only items they are given one personal item per contestant, a satchel, and a camcorder (a "diary cam" to give details and pictures when the producer's camera is not recording them). They are given a map, which depicts where they are to stay during the 21-days, and where they need to go to get "rescued" on day 21.
I am a former Marine, and I have been deployed to Iraq. I have gone to survival school, cold weather school, and I have even gone on a two-week dog sledding track in Duluth, Minnesota. I believe my education and experience gives me a unique perspective on this particular show.
Where to start? First, I understand that giving up your clothes can be difficult because not only does it give you protection from the elements, and helps you cool or hear your body as necessary, it also provides a sense of security, and covers your dignity so to speak. As a female, it must be difficult for both contestants to not have clothes on during their survival experience, but honestly, a woman being naked in a primitive and stressful situation around a man she does not know, and has to rely on having to be daunting.
Next, I find it amazing how when many of the men are in this Adam and Eve setup, they try to take the role as the head of household mentality, and ignore the woman's skills, as in one episode where the man refused to eat a fish his companion has captured with a pointy stick. The gentleman told his compatriot that "she looked like a man" when she hunted. I don't think that her name was Denny helped the situation. It was amusing when she told her partner that finishing the challenge was not a question of whether she was a woman, but rather, if she was woman enough.
The same patriarch is seen in every episode, and to see some of this is not unexpected, but in moderate amounts, many of these tough women would welcome help, any help. These tough women collect medicinal herbs for their partners sunburns, or special sap to put on his bug bites, or even building her partner a primitive version.
From the shows I have seen so far in season one of the show, the men that are "good ol' boys", have a much more difficult time with the course, and are more likely to start fights, and quit the challenge before the end of the 21-days. The only time they ever seemed pleased with themselves is when they kill something, and in one situation when one man's partner proclaimed "Billy, you are the mighty hunter!" Then when his partner nudged him, showing him there was another cottonmouth snake for him to kill, his face falls in defeat.
To me, the only way it seems like someone could complete this course, if the challengers had a meeting on what the other person can expect from them, what they expect from their partner. Without open and honest communication, the challenge becomes unbearable because the contestants don't want to work with each other.